Five Important Things to Know About the Commonly Prescribed Painkiller Norco
Norco is a type of painkiller that combines the main ingredient in most over-the-counter painkillers (acetaminophen) with a type of opiate-based painkiller (hydrocodone). Norco is one brand name for this combination, but others such as Vicodin and Lorcet are virtually identical in their composition. If you’ve been prescribed the painkiller Norco, or believe you or someone you know may be abusing it, it’s important to know as much about it as possible. The following facts are vital information for anyone who comes into contact with this drug.
#1: Norco Can Be Addictive
Since the painkiller Norco contains acetaminophen, which is found in all sorts of non-narcotic painkillers like Tylenol and Advil, there’s sometimes a mistaken belief that it’s less dangerous or less likely to cause addiction. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Hydrocodone is considered to be just as addictive as oxycodone, and they are the top two most frequently abused prescription medications in the United States. The doses found in a Norco prescription are more than enough to promote abuse and to eventually cause a physical dependency if used for long enough.
#2: Acetaminopen is Dangerous in its Own Right
Again, since it’s in Tylenol and similar mild painkillers, people sometimes underestimate the dangers of acetaminophen. It’s true that it doesn’t have potential for addiction in the way that opioids do. However, the reason it’s never prescribed as a primary treatment for serious or chronic pain is that it’s dangerous to body organs in large doses, particularly to the liver. A large enough or frequent enough intake can cause liver failure. This becomes a serious risk of Norco abuse, as the patient will usually take larger and larger amounts of the pill as their addiction progresses.
#3: Norco Is Just as Illegal as Other Opioids
This used to be false, but is now a fact. The painkiller hydrocodone used to be a Schedule III drug, putting it a tier below most of the prescription opioids known to cause addiction. However, as of late 2014, it has joined the others in Schedule II. That means increased penalties for things like trafficking, illegal possession and even driving while under the influence. Even sharing pills with someone who doesn’t have a prescription is a serious federal crime.
#4: Hydrocodone was Originally Meant to be a Less Addictive Opioid Drug
The painkiller hydrocodone was first produced in the 1920s, and the goal was to create an opioid formulation that was less addictive than morphine. Unfortunately, rat studies showed it was actually even more powerful, and was even overwhelming the tolerance of rats that had been steadily dosed with morphine.
#5: The Difference between Norco and Vicodin is the Ratio of Hydrocodone to Acetaminophen
Norco, Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, Zydone and all of the other brand names that combine hydrocodone and acetaminophen differ only in how much of each they contain. A Norco prescription will contain anywhere from 7.5mg to 10mg of hydrocodone along with 325mg of acetaminophen for each dose. Though it has less opioid content than Vicodin, which is more commonly abused, Norco is actually more powerful (though the ES and HP variants of Vicodin can contain just as much but with a much larger dose of acetaminophen).
Norco Problem? Consider Residential Treatment
Like all other addictive opiate and opioid drugs, the painkiller Norco can cause physical dependency within a short period of time. Once someone is dependent on the drug, they’ll have a very hard time getting off of it without professional medical intervention. Recovery is much more likely with a proper period of detox and long-term recovery overseen by licensed and certified treatment professionals.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.